Politics

Too Fat to Fight (Or Just Too High?)

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kid with snickers

Some of the nation's top military brass—including 300 retired generals and admirals, including Richard Myers, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and James M. Loy, former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security—are worried that American kids are too fat to fight.

A new report released this week, creatively titled "Still Too fat to Fight" tries to scare policymakers into cutting down on the availability of junk food in schools.

400 billion calories of junk food are being sold in our schools every year.

That's the equivalent of 2 billion candy bars.

Put them on a scale and they would weigh almost 90 thousand tons.  That' s more than the aircraft carrier Midway.

While those stats are eye-catching, they're also misleading. Some of the junk kids eat in schools is from vending machines. But school lunches can be just as bad, and more legitimate target for reform. I say this as someone who had a fried chicken sandwich and a Hawaiian Punch—doled out in the official lunch lady—for my public school midday meal every single day of 8th grade. Recent efforts at new menus have met with mixed responses, with these Kansas student athletes complaining that they are fading away, but may actually be a step in the right direction.

Earlier this month, First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the same message on Dr. Oz, agreeing that "the greatest threat to national security that we have is obesity."

The report also notes:

Currently, 75 percent of 17- to 24-year olds in the US cannot serve in the military, primarily because they are physically unfit, have not graduated from high school, or have a criminal record. 

A good chunk of those criminal records are drug war related, of course. (Just 27 percent of kids can't serve due to obesity, which makes this another dubious stat in the report.) The way I see it, we have two choices for the defense of our nation: fit weed smokers or fat Twinkies eaters. I know which I'd choose when the Krauts come a-callin'.

I'll be discussing this story on RT at about 5 p.m. Eastern time today, so tune in!